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South Africa: New home grown Indian channel

On 27 August at Johannesburg’s Hazeldene Hall, hundreds of glamorous guests, including celebrities from the South African Indian community and soaps like Isidingo and Scandal, attended the glitzy launch of Saffron TV, DStv’s new locally produced Indian channel.

A lifestyle and entertainment channel, Saffron TV goes on air at 1 September. It features presenters such as Strini Pillai, Sorisha Naidoo, Shalandra Bunseelal and Letisha Singh and promises a mix of local and international shows. These cover food, style, beauty and health, as well as Bollywood news and reviews, showbiz gossip and community news, lifestyle programmes and family entertainment shows. Saffron TV is produced by Ochre Moving Pictures and was conceived by Stan Joseph and his team.

GM of Business Development at Avusa Media, owner of Ochre, Andy Gill, said that Saffron TV had been a long time coming as it had involved an in-depth period of research. “We believe the Indian market in South Africa is both highly under-serviced and very commercially viable. The viewer proposition for Saffron TV is that it will satisfy a core need for a community with a unique identity in the South African environment, a community that is an avid consumer of TV. This boutique channel will offer DStv’s Indian subscribers a shared family viewing experience. At the same time, Saffron TV offers advertisers a very attractive reach into the local Indian community.”

Gill noted that in today’s fast changing media environment with new platforms and continually evolving consumer habits, niches had become very attractive to media owners. “We will use other Avusa properties, such as Sunday Times Extra and Nu Metro Bollywood to cross-market Saffron TV.”

Aletta Alberts, head of Content at MultiChoice (owner of DStv) added that MultiChoice was committed to offering a diverse choice to viewers. Many years ago DStv launched its Indian bouquet which comprises “The Best of India”. Michelle Pennington, VP of Business Development of the MIH Group (under which MultiChoice falls), noted that while sales for the Indian bouquet had been good, they were not fantastic. “We did our research which informed us that we had the right content. One day it dawned on us that we were putting ‘The Best of India’ into homes where the first language was English and not Indian. It was Aletta Alberts who said we needed to add something local to the Indian bouquet. At about the same time, Stan Joseph walked through the door with the Saffron TV proposal.” Joseph commented: “Saffron TV, is an exciting project that showcases Ochre's strengths as a creative company, and the benefits we can leverage by being part of a major local media group like Avusa.”

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